Police in Grand Rapids, Michigan say that there was nothing they could do after Bible-preaching protesters threatened to rape and murder pro-LGBT activists at a “Gay Day” event over the weekend.
In a video posted to YouTube, several protesters with Bibles can be seen shouting at a woman celebrating in the inaugural “Gay Day” celebration, an event organized by the human rights group Tolerance, Equality and Awareness Movement (TEAM) to showcase the community’s diversity.
“Back in the day there was no free power, there was no going to the mall,” one protester tells the woman. “There was, ‘sit your ass in this house until I bring my ass home.'”
“And if your ass get to going out there like you said, guess what?” a second protester adds. “You get raped. And that’s what’s going to happen to you. … Keep your pussy clean, that’s all you need to do. Do you understand?”
After one man claims, “the Lord said that,” the woman challenges him to find the corresponding Bible verse.
He responds with Isaiah 13: “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.”
“What does ‘ravished’ mean? It means, we going to rape your ass,” the protester explains. “And I’m going to have fun doing that shit. And you going to like that. I promise you.”
After briefly arguing that he is misinterpreting the Bible, the woman observes, “Anything I say, you say it doesn’t matter.”
“It’s going to matter right now,” the man shoots back. “It’s going to matter when your clothes off and I’m going inside of you repeatedly. That’s when it’s going to matter. Because you going to enjoy yourself.”
The woman in the video told WWMT that the men also recited her boyfriend’s license plate number and promised to find and kill him. She said she called 911, but the Grand Rapids Police Department officer told her that there was nothing he could do.
Lt. Mark Ostapowicz explained to MLive.com that the report was closed because no one came forward with a specific complaint.
“The Gay Day celebration group was upset that the Bible group was able to protest, but in their protest they weren’t doing anything wrong, according to the (responding police officer’s) report,” Ostapowicz said. ““When the officers got there they were not threatening each other. As long as they’re not breaking any of the protest rules, there’s nothing we can do.”
“As of right now, we just have two groups in disagreement with each other. Nothing happened that led the officers to do more.”
In a letter posted to their website on Tuesday, TEAM called on authorities to take action to protect the LGBT community.
“It is our position that these actions should not be tolerated in this community, and that the perpetrators of such actions be brought to justice,” TEAM president Chris Surfus wrote in the letter. “[H]ate speech that incites violence, rape and other criminal actions is not constitutionally protected.”
“It is our hope that the Grand Rapids Police Department will formally charge these men for these atrocious and unwelcome actions in our community,” he added.
WWMT reported that the men were part of a Christian black supremacist group called the Black Hebrew Israelites. According to the South Poverty Law Center, the quickly spreading movement preaches “a frightening, racist theology that says Jesus Christ is returning soon to kill or enslave white people, Jews, homosexuals, and others.”
Certain cultures practice “corrective rape” to “correct” the sexual orientation of Lesbian women.
The following video contains offensive and violent language and is not safe for work.
Watch this video from WWMT, broadcast Aug. 8, 2012.